SkiGo Rollerski Test
With rollerskiing being one of my prime out of season activities it is probably no surprise at the rate that I get through a pair. Rollerskis tend to last between 1500-2000 km in my experience which means that I usually get through a pair after 9-12 months of hard use. Previously I have had rollerskis from Pro Ski and Swenor and I opted to experiment with SkiGo this time round.
The model I purchased was the XC Classic Carbon S from SkiGo for lightweights, ie a weight restriction of 75Kg. The same model is also available for pie eaters over 75Kg in weight. On opening the box one is pleasantly surprised by the contents. The skis have a design that is pleasant on the eye, however I doubt that there are too many skiers bothered about that. The skis have a longer stem than both Pro Ski and Swenor and also robust splash guards over the wheels.
Weight wise there isn’t much to separate SkiGo from other skis that I have used previously. With bindings Swenor Fibreglass weight in at 200g heavier per pair. Despite their extra 5cm in length the SkiGo rollerskis weigh in identical to Pro Ski with aluminium stem. In addition to having a longer stem, the SkiGo skis are also noticeably wider by several mm.
The SkiGo wheels have also a noticeable greater diameter and are narrower than Pro Ski yet broader than Swenor.
The rolling resistance by hand, ie with no wait applied to ski, is much greater than both Pro Ski & Swenor. The manufacturer states that the rollerskis afford a more ski-like experience presumably due to the overall greater dimensions.
The route for the field test was chosen to be through Maridalen and up to Grefsenkollen. The variety in terrain would yield a good opportunity to test the skis using different techniques. Furthermore, it was absolutely pissing down which would give an added challenge to the test. Not only would aquaplaning and grip issues raise their heads, but both squashed frogs and slugs would be out in force to add extra treachery to the course. Slugs and rollerskis do not mix and the only thing that was missing was autumn leaves and early Winter grit.
For the test I had managed to coerce my old adversity Rune out for a zone 3 session. Rune is a far better double poler than I am, but he promised he would go easy, particularly as I’d warned him about the SkiGo wheels in advance. Due to their extra resistance on spinning the wheels, I’d informed him that the wheels were like Pro Ski, ie C-2.5 as opposed to C-2. Rune immediately saw through the bullshit within two minutes of rollerskiing out of Brekke as I was able to freewheel away from him and his Swenors down a gentle decline. With this followed accusations that the wheels were in fact C-1.5! This was a big, but pleasant surprise.
Immediate impressions were that the skis were a little clumsy seeing as they were much larger than what I was used to. However, this impression disappeared after about two minutes. Performance-wise the skis were equivalent to both Pro Ski and Swenor whilst double poling. A bonus though is that the extra length and fibre-glass stem affords good insulation against vibration and handles small potholes very well. However, on getting to Låkeberget the lower friction of the SkiGo wheels became more apparent as I left Rune behind on the short downhill, and with that came more C-1.5 cat calls.
Liquid Sunshine Test
On getting to the church ruins at Maridalen the heavens really opened and it started to bucket down. In many areas water was now washing over the roads and was increasing drag. The splash guards were functioning extremely well keeping my boots and ankles dry. However, the rest of me was saturated. I’d been double poling up until this stage and the conditions weren’t giving me much hope of getting up Grefsenkollen, the target for the equipment test. On getting to Skar I opted to try out some double pole with kick on a short incline just to see how treacherous the conditions actually were. I was expecting to slip and not get any grip whatsoever on the kick stride. Surprisingly the wheels gripped the tarmac without any reduction in friction. On the way back out of Skar I intended to attempt to test the braking options on the decline where speeds of 40 kmh are easily reached into the bend at the bottom. I was very wary of speed due to the now dangerous conditions so I began to plough at the top of the decline expecting to mimic Bambi on ice. However, the extra stem length facilitated braking and the fantastic grip from the wheels meant that I was able to make a wide V without fear of slipping across the road. This really was totally unexpected and a positive bonus as Rune became less aggressive on the downhill stretches whilst I was able to rollerski as I would under normal dry conditions.
The way back to Brekke was a real pleasure despite the conditions. The skis afforded increased confidence in the conditions and it was able to go harder than normal without having to resort to double poling. Another positive was revealed up the short ascent to Låkeberget. Diagonal technique worked a dream with good grip and also great directional stability. Despite the extra stem length the rollerskis were actually a joy to perform the diagonal stride with, and as the manufacturer states, actually mimic the feel of diagonal stride on snow.
The real test was to come as we reached Lachmannsvei and the start of the incline up Grefsenveien. A 200m ascent over 4km in atrocious conditions would not normally be my idea of fun. However, I was keen to see how the new skis would handle a 5-20% incline at various stages of the ascent. Up to this point Rune on Swenor skis had been holding back and keeping in touch with ease. However, from Lachmannsvei it was clear that his grip was suboptimal and I was able to ease away without too much effort, remaining in zone 3. The skis performed exceptionally well and I was able to double pole with kick all the way up to Grefsenkollen without a single slip back, which I would normally have experienced with both Pro Ski and Swenor.
Overall the skis from SkiGo handled the conditions exceptionally well and far better than anticipated. The rollerskis have a closer feel to skiing on snow with both diagonal stride and double pole with kick. No discernible difference was experienced double poling, though rolling resistance was slightly less downhill. The wheels handled the wet conditions well and even on steep hills did not slip. Furthermore, the extra stem length gave good directional stability and also facilitated ploughing. The skis can be highly recommended, particularly for beginners. The extra stability and ease of braking, particularly in wet conditions, should give a real confident boost to experienced skiers who are new to rollerskiing. For experienced rollerskiers the skis are still recommended, though the benefits are reduced somewhat due to greater efficiencies in technique. However, the rollerskis give a closer feel to skiing on snow when not double poling. Sprint ace Johan Kjølstad has used the same model over the last few weeks and is also impressed with their handling. Well recommended!